In Sylvester Stallone's new action blockbuster, a team of mercenaries is hired to overthrow a South American dictator.
Directed by Sylvester Stallone(R)
The Expendables is a “deliriously retro ride into Reagan-era blockbusters,” said Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel. The film starts with a brief reunion of three men who were the “pride and joy of big, bloody ’80s action movies”—Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis. The latter two only have cameos, but writer-director Stallone also stars, as part of a team of mercenaries hired to overthrow a South American dictator. Sweat and testosterone “drip off the screen” as he joins forces with action-movie heirs Jet Li and Jason Statham. Stallone “whips up a blizzard of violence” that makes his ’80s films look quaint, said Nick Pinkerton in The Village Voice. Napalm smoke seems omnipresent, and he throws in a preposterous scene in which the bad guys resort to waterboarding. Still, The Expendables earns its stripes with plenty of old-school physical combat, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. “Completely low-tech” but fun nonetheless, the film sticks to its “primitive guns”—and thus may provoke nostalgia, among some, for the days before computer-generated graphics.